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Behind the Design: Serpent Spring Cover Artist Interview with Harumo Sato

Behind the Design: Serpent Spring Cover Artist Interview with Harumo Sato

The vibrant cover of our 2021 Annual Serpent Spring Passion Planner is the art of Harumo Sato, a Japanese visual artist who endeavors to bring peace through her work. We asked her about her creative process, where she finds inspiration, and how she stays motivated to keep creating. 

Tell us a bit about yourself. How did you get into your art initially?

I have loved making art since I was a kid. Most of my childhood memories are related to the times when I was creating something. I used to love making clay figures, clay pots, felt bags, and illustrated books. When my younger sister was born, I made an illustrated book to teach her about the names of common objects such as bananas, chocolate, and pencils. I vividly remember the exciting feeling I had while doodling bananas with my yellow colored pencil. 

How has your art evolved over time and what steps do you take to continually improve your craft?

My art changes with each new life experience. I recently welcomed a baby son into my life and it has given me many revolutionary inspirations. I feel my brain and body has been drastically calibrated into a new life pattern to be with him. My ideas and visions toward my artwork shifted with this. I don’t yet have an abundance of time to physically make pieces, but my brain has been pretty active to think what to do and what to draw next. As such, I have recently focused on making as many quick sketches as possible when I have a couple minutes to myself between child rearing responsibilities. 

Where did you draw your inspiration from for the Serpent Spring Passion Planner cover?

The white serpent is a lucky charm in old Japanese folklore which brings prosperity. It likes people who have pure hearts. It makes sense then that people who can focus on their goals and work hard for them tend to accomplish their will through effort and likely grab some luck when it comes. 

I wanted to make the Passion Planner a lucky charm for the dream driven owner: a charm to open their heart and clear their mind so that they can focus on their goal with a pure mind and eventually grab their luck. 

How do you handle an art block or a creative rut?

I usually take a break and do completely different things: talk with good friends, cook something very time consuming, walk in the forest, or read books, etc. Also, sleeping or napping is the great cure to get rid of clutter in my brain.   

What keeps you motivated in life or what is your ‘Why?’ in life?

I started seriously focusing on making art after I got sick and couldn’t do much beside doodling. Since then, art has become a seriously important part of my life physically and mentally. Drawing was a part of my physical rehabilitation activities, and expressing my emotion during a depressive time helped me to get out of a dark mentality. Now I am fully recovered and my mission is to share the awesomeness of art with as many people as I can.   

What’s your advice for artists who are just starting out? 

Try out a lot of different things until you find out who you are and what your art looks like! I was not sure which direction I wanted to go at the beginning, but I knew I wanted to make something. So I tried many different types of art, mediums, different styles, and so on to find which one speaks most to me. And I am still figuring out now too! A never ending quest is part of the awesomeness of creating art. :D  

What’s a goal you have for 2021? 

I want to figure out my professional life while taking care of our baby boy. It is fascinating to see how fast babies grow. He has taught me what human beings are built on. He will continue to do it his entire life and I am quite excited to wonder how this knowledge changes me and my art practice! 

Where can we find more of your work?

@harumosato on Instagram



Love Harumo Sato’s art? Support her cover artwork by purchasing the Limited Edition Serpent Spring Passion Planner! $1 for every planner sold will benefit ARTS (A Reason to Survive), our non-profit partner whose mission is providing empowering arts programming to South Bay San Diego youth.

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